U.S. Travel

Things I LoveU.S. Travel

WEDDING WEEKEND IN DALLAS

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A quick trip to Dallas served as time beautifully spent with longtime friends plus a short break for the hubby from the intensity of tax season.  Had fortunes worked out, we might have continued on to New Orleans for the NCAA Men’s Championship game, but our Bruins did not make it to the last round.

For this trip, a high point was visiting the George W. Bush Presidential Library on the grounds of Southern Methodist University.  The site was closed during our last visit to Dallas in October 2020 for the World Series.  That trip worked out pretty well in spite of this particular detail (to say the least — read my post here).

The entire site comprises 18 acres, 15 of which is a beautiful park.  It’s no surprise these libraries take years to build as they serve as a complete history of, in this case, eight years in office.  Everything is there, from attire worn, major events relived through archival documents and videos, interviews and some hilarious moments where “43” pokes fun at his misproununciations — most notably “strategery” and “misunderestimate.”  It is well worth a visit.

Above, a full-size replica of the Oval Office.   Below, of the many gifts on display given to the President, this one is just perfect — bowls for First Dog Barney (love the feet!)

When in Texas, one tends to savor authentic bar-b-que as we did with a return visit to Terry Black’s in Deep Ellum.  When we arrived — and when we left — the line was literally out the door, with good reason.  It’s just delicious.  Their massive smoking room shown below. The good weather allowed for walking back to the hotel and a chance to work off some of that amazing food.

If you’ve not heard, weddings are going on everywhere due to 2020/21 postponements — the most weddings in our history.   It’s been said that it is easier to find your soulmate these days than an available wedding venue.  I believe it!  There was another wedding adjacent to the one we attended at the Adolphus where we stayed.  Obviously we didn’t read the sign “Hagerman/Zeidman Wedding This Way” until we had a drink and a bite and then went to sign the guest book.  “That’s not Sarah and Mark ..” in the photo display served as the tipping point to head right.  Much later in the evening, guests were drifting back and forth to sample some snack offerings (burritos in the “other” wedding and Whataburger at the Zeidman’s) and it was all good.

The night before

As for the evening before (at The Henry) and the wedding/dinner & dancing itself, there’s nothing quite like celebrating two people who found each other after their first “attempts” didn’t work out.  Afterall, isn’t “love lovlier the second time around” as the song goes?  To Sarah and Mark, it was a great joy to celebrate your love and to be with your family – our longtime and cherished friends – on this beautiful occasion.

Above with other longtime friends (Amb. Ned & Stephanie Siegel) and the groom’s father Fred;  below the head table with gorgeous flowers.

With the groom’s mama Kay Zeidman

 

Mr & Mrs Zeidman!
International TravelThings I LoveU.S. Travel

FAREWELL 2021; HELLO 2022

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As has become my custom, I end the current year and begin the new year with both a wrap up and a forecast.  Planned travel is something that required fluidity in the last two years, at least if one wants to remain sane.  Practically the only thing for sure is that some aspect of a plan might change.  Following is the 2021 recap, for which travel I am extremely thankful.  Click on each destination heading for the various posts.

WHERE WE WENT

International ::

TANZANIA

UGANDA

BERMUDA

Domestic ::

CLEVELAND

DETROIT

CHICAGO

CHARLESTON

SAVANANNAH

WHERE WE’RE GOING

The big post-tax-season trip starts in Iceland followed by Norway & Sweden (traversing the southern areas by car).  From Stockholm, we fly to St. Petersburg as a visa snafu ejected us from Russia after our 2018 Moscow visit. The Russians are very serious about their visas.  After that, we meet up with our kids to enjoy Florence and Venice (they start in Rome and end in Milan).  This family trip was postponed from 2020; thus, we are very much looking forward!

Other travel (domestic) includes a wedding in Dallas, maybe a trip to New Orleans (site of this year’s Final Four), Lake Tahoe for a postponed concert (Train) and who knows what else.  Wherever we do go, I am forever grateful for readers who travel along.  April 2022 marks ten years of Travel with Teri B visiting 38 countries (out of 76 total), and I have loved every minute.

 

Things I LoveU.S. Travel

THANKSGIVING SOUTHERN STYLE – PART 2

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When considering where to enjoy a favorite holiday, the beautiful destination of Savannah, Georgia, was unanimously selected.  After three terrific days in Charleston (click HERE ) we continued our family trip just two hours’ away.  This was a first visit for all.

En route, we simply had to go back to a surprise find from the hubby’s and my trip last year (click HERE) especially for son Sam to see.  Magiamo in Hilton Head is “your home away from home” for any fan of The Ohio State University.  Football, basketball and even Cleveland teams are all represented at this fun eatery, a must-see destination.  We were told that folks show up hours in advance for big games in order to view with other rabid fans.  How fun is that??   Below, Sam shares with his followers:  “You cannot believe this place.  OH-IO!”

Accommodations were at The Alida, which enabled us to walk to many spots for both dining and sight-seeing.  Below, the hotel is to the left while the Plant Riverside complex (shops, restaurants, other hotels)  is seen ahead.

Below, the walkway along the Savannah River — which is on the other side of the Plant Riverside building (above).

Savannah could be the most dog-friendly city ever.  I’m fairly certain I saw more people with dogs than with children!  There are abundant parks and pathways for our furry friends.  Our favorite one is seen below (cuteness overload).

Highlights of the many sights enjoyed:

Forsyth Park (in the Historic District – South)   A great number of folks walking around, enjoying the lush grounds.

Congregation Mickve Israel  — there’s a favorite word in Judaism which is “beshert” or “meant to be.”   In this case it was our timing for seeing the synagogue. Although closed, we randomly arrived just when the flowers were being delivered for that evening’s Sabbath service.  The person on duty allowed us to come in for a brief moment to see the inside.  Someone was looking out for us for which we were the grateful recipients.  What a magnificent building — the third oldest synagogue in the U.S.

Birthplace for The Girl Scouts

A truly fun favorite, the Prohibition Museum where these are three of the best signs:

Finally, a few words about this “Fit for Foodies” city.  Two in particular of our restaurants were outstanding — the iconic Olde Pink House (the best fried chicken ever) and an unplanned meal at Sam’s great find, Fleeting at the newish Thompson Hotel.   Not only was the food delicious, but the view (below) from the rooftop bar is a must-see.  And, finally, Leopold’s for ice cream where people have been coming for 102 years.

When one is too busy eating, one must share a photo from Leopold’s Instagram feed above.  If taken during our visit, you’d see the line for as far as the photo goes.  This place and so many others make Savannah a terrific destination.   Can’t wait to go back.

U.S. TravelWining/Dining

Thanksgiving Southern Style

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Our family tradition of Thanksgiving week travel has become something we look forward to with much anticipation.  While everyone gets a vote for the destination, I handle most of the arrangements.  That means accommodations, flights and mostly importantly restaurants!

This year’s journey took us cross country to two of the most coveted travel destinations in the US — Charleston and Savannah.  This is the second visit to Charleston for me and the hubby, after loving our first trip last year.  My post from that trip is accessed here.

First, the travel/flights.  Are we not just bombarded with travel horror stories of late, with many involving cancelled flights?  My happy report is we had absolutely NONE of that (all on American Airlines). It would have gone off without a hitch had my wallet actually contained my driver’s license.  I’ll write about that experience later.  We flew from LA – Dallas for a plane change and enough time to grab dinner, then on to Charleston.  We arrived late, grabbed a readily available cab(!) and off to our waterfront accommodations at the lovely Harborview Inn.  I highly recommend this place for the great location, hospitality, generously size rooms and other amenities along with very good rates.

One of Charleston’s charms is its walkability with streets easy to navigate.  We did rent a car but found that many times it was easier to walk — not to mention getting in those steps to mitigate the food intake.  We repeated a few favorites from last year — visiting Fort Sumter, dining at Leon’s Oyster Shop and worth-the-wait Lewis BBQ, plus seeing Angel Oak Tree.   All of these were enjoyed both for the first time (our kids) and second time (me and the hubby).   We also drove the area to see some of the beautiful and historic homes.

The main trunk at Angel Oak
View from Fort Sumter

Brisk and blistery weather at Ft. Sumter.

For the new experiences, we tried Anson’s and Maison.  Maison is literally next door to Leon’s but couldn’t be more different.  It’s small but with a very cultivated wine list, and the food is top notch French bistro with some twists. The food (top to bottom):  Classic Onion Soup but “en croute” — crack into that baby and out comes the rich soup; classic Steak Fritte; endive salad with apples and pecans; Escargot of course; and a perfect wine to accompany it all.  Mais oui!

Anson (unbeknownst to me when booking) is a sister restaurant to two we will visit in Savannah.  It is partnered with Garibaldi’s and the iconic/renowned Olde Pink House which is on everyone’s “do not miss” list.  As for Charleston, what better way to sum things up than with some visuals!  First up, southern classics at Anson — whole crispy flounder and shrimp & grits.

For this trip, we were able to go inside this amazing and historic synagogue in Charleston — Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim — est 1749.  A new hanukkiah for our Hanukkah candlelighting was purchased and happily used.

 

If you had to choose a “last dessert ever,” I could easily go with one of these treats seen below from Peace Pie.

Pampered much?  Or am I just jealous ..??

Across from our hotel is the entrance to Joe Riley Waterfront Park with this beautiful fountain seen below.  Charleston has many parks to visit, all part of their Conservancy program.

After a couple of jam-packed days, it was off to Savannah with an important stop along the way.   Stay tuned ..

Things I LoveU.S. TravelWining/Dining

BACK IN THE WINDY CITY

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I absolutely love visiting Chicago.  It is a world-class city with great people, shopping, culture, baseball (none for us this trip) and fabulous food.  I have visited many times, first due to working for a company headquartered in Chicago (from their L.A. office), then for a variety of reasons — an All-Star game at the ballpark formerly known as Comiskey; another baseball trip for Wrigley; a trade show; a conference, etc.  It doesn’t take much prodding for me to visit.

This year’s road trip stopped first in Cleveland and Detroit, so the proximity to Chicago was an easy decision as the place of choice to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary (previous posts and links in bold).  Below are two different views from our hotel — of Michigan Avenue and Lake Michigan.

So what was on the itinerary for the 3-night stay?  Pretty much everything listed above, plus a first:  a boat tour on the Chicago River to view the city’s stunning, historic and iconic architecture. Chicago is known for having some of the most interesting buildings, and many of the great talents in the field have contributed and continue contributing to this day.  Among those greats are the names Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, and Skidmore, Owings, Merrill.  (Click here for more about the buildings.)  And the weather gods cooperated by providing a perfect day in Chicago; timing is everything as they say.  Neither cold nor hot nor humid nor windy.  If only there were more of these days. Some of the photos from the tour:

Above — 333 West Wacker Street; below – Willis Tower (110 stories)

Above – Marina City complex; below – Wrigley building

Eating and shopping were next up on the agenda, even if the latter was mostly of the window type.  As for the eating, a great deal of advance research was done in order to savor each meal (three lunches and two dinners).

RL Chicago was first up.  Ralph Lauren has a penchant for doing everything “just so,” and that includes his namesake restaurants (NY and Chicago).  While it may be considered a “scene” by some, we found the service very hospitable and welcoming and the food is delicious.  Finding Pigs in a Blanket on an “upscale” menu might be surprising, but they were perfection which is not surprising in hindsight.  The other dishes we tried followed suit.  And, yes, it was fun taking in the scene.

A tried-and-true spot is Shaw’s Crab House, part of the epic group of restaurants from Lettuce Entertain You. It is amazing that they can do so many different cuisines so well. But they do, and we’ve tried enough of their restaurants to know that is the case.

Searching for Chicago’s “best” pizza might result in a debate over thin crust (my preference) vs. a classic deep dish, and many other types in between.  I read about a place called Spacca Napoli and decided that was the winner for us.

For our anniversary dinner, a Chicago stalwart was selected — Le Colonial — recently relocated from Rush Street to fashionable Oak Street (think upper Madison Avenue and all those glorious boutiques).  I loved the food in Vietnam and thought this would be ideal.  And it was.  Just a word about the dessert — it is up there in the annals of dessert perfection.  A chewy and crispy base of oatmeal and coconut and chocolate with a perfect scoop of vanilla gelato on top.  I’d make a trip back just for that (hence the top billing below).

A last lunch was squeezed in en route to O’Hare and recommended by an LA friend who is often in Chicago.  Gibson’s Italia combines the best of their reputation for steak with surprisingly delicious Italian food.  Both were excellent and a terrific way to bid the city goodbye (but hopefully not for long).  And that view of the river from the restaurant is just beautiful!  Separately, did you ever see two happier people around food?  I think not.

If the fondest visual is saved for last, then this shot of Michigan Avenue taken from our room qualifies.  I could just stare and stare ..

 

 

 

Things I LoveU.S. Travel

MICHIGAN FOR A DAY

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Of the U.S. states not previously visited, I can now check Michigan off the list.  What are the others I presume you are asking?  In no particular order: Maine, Alabama and Mississippi. So nearly there.

After spending a couple of days in Cleveland (click here), the principal reasons for going were twofold:  attending a Detroit Tigers game and seeing Kalamazoo, my mom’s birthplace.

The Detroit suburb of Dearborn was the location for our overnight hotel.  The town is synonymous with one word — “Ford” — as it adorns nearly every building.  And if not “Ford” then “Henry.”  Seen below is merely one of countless buildings that comprise the world headquarters.

Random sighting in Dearborn!

We took the opportunity to view some other areas, especially the grand homes in Grosse Point Farms along Lake St. Clair, half of which body of water is in the U.S. and the other half Canada (bordering Windsor, Ontario).

Lakefront family viewing in Grosse Point

As for Comerica Park, it is another of the classic ballparks right in the city that one can access by foot.  I’m so used to Dodger Stadium’s car-only access (or shuttle bus) that it’s really a pleasure to visit a park situated as Comerica is or Progressive Field (Cleveland) or PNC (Pittsburgh) or many others.  And Comerica was the final piece for visiting all 30 current MLB stadiums.  Checkmate.

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After leaving the game, the hubby insisted we see one more sight before heading on.  It is a great one and well worth the short detour — the birthplace of Motown.

 

We set out on the 4+ hour drive which traverses the lower part of Michigan through Ann Arbor, Battle Creek and then Kalamazoo.  But the traffic Gods were not on our side with road closures, so we diverted south.  Sorry, mom.  I’ll have to come back another time to see the city of your birth.  We proceeded through the northern part of Indiana (South Bend) with a stop for dinner in Michigan City, Indiana, and then on to an all-time favorite city — Chicago.  Stay tuned.